Employee Feedback – How We Serve it at Gravie

August 16, 2016

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

– George Bernard Shaw

If you were to ask ten employees how they felt about feedback – the frequency, effectiveness, clarity, method of delivery, etc. you’d probably hear 10 different answers. But usually, somewhere within those ten different answers, you’re likely to hear “I’d like more of it,”

Wanting more feedback is one of the most common requests from employees about their development and sense of effectiveness, yet it remains elusive. Why is it so hard to get it right? Probably because each employee has different needs, different sensitivities and different preferences. Somehow, even though most people want to hear what they’re doing right and what they could do to be even better, we’ve ended up in a place where giving and getting feedback is perceived as a negative. So we usually avoid it unless it’s a general “you’re doing great” or until we’re so fed up that we’ve already decided the person is way off-track.

At Gravie, we recently asked that question and we heard our employees loud and clear. They want more feedback, not just on specific job duties, but also on their overall development and effectiveness. And they don’t want it to come in the form of a run of the mill performance review. Those don’t seem to hit the mark.

As a general rule, Gravie employees loathe bureaucracy and filling out meaningless forms. They do however, value structure and process when it helps guide them towards a meaningful end. Which is why we decided to design and implement a feedback process that empowers employees to develop and grow professionally in the most efficient and relevant way. In order for this process to produce the desired results, we designed it based on competencies our employees share. The four key Gravie employee competencies are as follows:

1. Authenticity

  • Says it like it is
  • Transparent approach
  • Comfortable in own skin and confident in their abilities
  • OK saying, “I don’t know, but I’ll find the answer”
  • Can laugh at themselves & can see the humor in things around them
  • Doesn’t try to put a gloss over things

2. Creativity

  • Comes up with new & unique ideas
  • Comfortable taking the risk of being wrong
  • Sees connections between things that aren’t obviously connected
  • Challenges status quo; imagines what could be vs. what is
  • Comfortable navigating through things not totally understood or without possessing all the details
  • Optimistic in approach

3. Curiosity

  • Able to imagine the “what if”
  • Asks good questions
  • Open to new and different possibilities
  • Seeks to understand before deciding
  • Wonders if something better is still out there
  • Approaches obstacles & barriers with positivity instead of negativity

4. Outcome Oriented

  • Hard working
  • Knows when to drive & conversely, knows when to collaborate
  • Bias towards action
  • Ability to take projects & ideas from A-to-B
  • Organizes work and projects, then executes towards results

With these four key employee competencies in mind, the feedback process was designed and put into effect. It consists of an annual self-assessment, 360 assessment, and an individual development plan.  After receiving their feedback based on the assessments, employees work with their manager to create a development plan with key things to work on.

This process allows us to to have a simple, yet targeted feedback loop that focuses on a few things that are really important to our company, and a few things that are really important to the rock stars who make up our company. It’s a way to have a common language and start shifting our culture to be more feedback centric. Check back in 2017 and we’ll give you an update on how everything is working out!

Amy Sparts, Gravie, Head of Human Resources

Like what you read and want more? Read Amy’s post: Moonlighting – Why it Makes Me Better At My Day Job

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